Autumn apple or pear tart, Winter a warm syrupy orange cake, Spring a delicious rhubarb cake, or perhaps a Summer bountiful berry bonanza.
Kindling Restaurant in Brighton is constantly evolving the menu to reflect whatever
is local and in season. "It’s a lot of fun but also a lot of work developing new recipes and
constantly innovating. As a chef (Holly Taylor) I absolutely love it when I find a recipe that is endlessly versatile. Something that delivers on taste and texture but can be easily adapted to
wonderful new produce.
Towards the end of the Summer, I decided I wanted to put a cake on the menu, something
that was special enough to be worthy of dessert – moist, dancing with flavour, and
comforting. A cake that would pair just as well with a sweet late-harvest chardonnay, as
with a rich dark espresso.
This is the autumnal version of that cake, the perfect comfort food for those colder months.
Rich and sticky, it is equally good served with custard, crème fraiche, or ice cream."
Whatever the season or occasion this cake is a winner and sure to be a firm favourite with family and guests.
Adapting the cake to the seasons;
"One of the reasons I love this cake is that there are so many different variations. It’s a
wonderful vehicle to showcase whatever fruit is in season.
In the autumn it works well with both apples and pears. It will work especially well if you
choose a variety that is firm and a little bit tart, for example, a Braeburn apple.
In the winter I recommend trying it with 2-3 thinly sliced oranges or blood orange. Instead
of making a caramel sauce, you want to cook the orange slices in sugar syrup for 15 mins
until the rinds are beginning to turn translucent - Put 200g sugar and 120ml water in a large
saucepan set over a medium heat; stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the orange slices (minus
any seeds) and bring to a gentle simmer. Then layer the syrupy oranges in the cake tin
instead of the pears.
In spring try using sticks of bright pink forced rhubarb as the base. No need for caramel, just
sprinkle the bottom of the cake pan with 30g of sugar and 15g of butter, then arrange the
rhubarb before topping it with the cake mix.
In summer this cake is fabulous topped with berries – blueberries and blackberries both
work well and don’t require any caramel or added sugar. You’ll need about 400-500g of
berries and it’s best to gently squash them into the bottom of the cake tin using a potato
masher so everything cooks evenly.
For a Halloween twist, you can use summer berry mix as the topping and add red food dye to the cake for a gruesome-looking centrepiece." - Holly Taylor, Kindling Restaurant, Brighton, UK.
A CAKE FOR ALL SEASONS
Caramelised Pear Upside Down Cake
For the pears
2 large pears – we use Beurre Hardy
150g caster sugar
30ml of water (2 Tbsp.)
For the cake
250g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
½ tsp of concentrated almond extract
2-3 tbsp. of poppy seeds (these are optional but they add a nice flavour and texture)
5 small eggs (or four very large ones), at room temperature
150g gluten-free self-raising flour (you can also use normal wheat-based self-raising flour)
150g ground almonds
2 tsp of baking powder
30g whole milk (2 Tbsp.)½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
To make the cake
1. Preheat your oven to 160C / Gas Mark 3 and line an 8inch / 20cm round cake tin
with baking parchment.
2. Peel the pears to remove the skin, then cut them in half and remove the core with a
melon baller. Slice each half of pear lengthways into four equally sized pieces, being
sure to trim off any pieces of stalk or other less edible parts.
3. Arrange your pear slices in a neatly fanned circle in the bottom of your cake tin.
Depending on the size of your pears you might end up with a few slices left over for
4. Next make your caramel by placing the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed pan on
a medium heat. As you heat the pan the sugar should dissolve into the water and the
syrup should start to boil. You want to boil the syrup until it turns a nice deep
caramel colour. You can swirl the pan during the cooking but don’t stir it as this
increases the chances of the sugar crystallising.
5. As soon as your caramel is the right colour, drizzle it as evenly as possible over your
pear slices, then set aside while you prepare the cake mixture.
6. First, cream together your butter and sugar using a stand mixer or electric whisk.
7. When the mixture is pale and fluffy add in the poppy seeds and almond extract, then
beat in your eggs one at a time
8. Sift together your self-raising flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Fold these
dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture. Once everything is well-incorporated
stir in the milk.
9. Spoon the cake mixture on top of the pears and carefully level it off with a spatula. If
you make a gentle indent in the middle of the cake mixture it will compensate for
the rise. This helps make the top of your cake flat when it’s baked, making it a better
shape when you turn it upside down.
10. Bake the cake in your preheated oven for 1 hour – 1 hour 10 mins until an inserted
skewer comes out clean. If you’re using a sprung form cake tin, I recommend baking
the cake with an oven tray on the shelf underneath to catch any oozing caramel or
escaping fruit juice.
11. Once your cake is baked, leave it in the tin until it’s cool to touch, then turn out
upside down onto a plate or serving dish to reveal the sticky golden caramelised
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Holly Taylor is co-chef and co-founder of Kindling Restaurant in Brighton. Kindling is about more than just the delicious food, it is a community of people: staff, customers and suppliers all sharing and celebrating local produce. Nature writes the menu as the seasons inspire the
dishes. Kindling is featured in the Michelin Guide and is a member of the Sustainable
ABOUT KINDLING RESTAURANT
Kindling Restaurant in Brighton is about more than just the delicious food, it is a community
of people: staff, customers and suppliers all sharing and celebrating local produce. Nature
writes the menu as the seasons inspire the dishes. Kindling is featured in the Michelin Guide
and is a member of the Sustainable Restaurants Association.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KindlingBrighton @KindlingBrighton
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kindlingrestaurant/ @KindlingRestaurant
Which variation of the Caramelised Pear Upside Down Cake will you make first? Let me know in the comments below how you get on. Until next time...